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Dog killer plans move to city

Exiled from Hawaii after being convicted.
'We don't need him here,' SPCA official says, adding that man would not be allowed to adopt a pet.

By Jan Ravensbergen, The Gazette
As published July 21, 2007, by The Gazette (Montreal)

A man convicted this week of killing a dog in Hawaii apparently plans to spend some of the next year in the Montreal area - after a judge temporarily banished him from that U.S. state.

Sylvain Pilon, 46, had been held at Maui Community Correctional Centre in lieu of $6,000 U.S. bail since Jan. 30.

Wailuku District Judge Douglas Ige convicted Pilon on Tuesday of cruelty to animals and two lesser offences, all related to a lengthy dispute over a neighbour's barking dogs.

After Pilon showed the judge an airline ticket for Montreal, Ige sentenced Pilon to time already served and a year's probation.

He also sent Pilon into exile - instructing him to use the ticket and not return to Hawaii during his probation without special court permission.

While on trial in May, Pilon admitted killing a neighbour's year-old shepherd/heeler mix with 13 machete blows.

If Pilon is a Canadian citizen, nothing bars him from returning to Canada, Erik Paradis of Canada Border Services Agency said yesterday.

"Any Canadian citizen can enter Canada as a right," Paradis said, adding he was "speaking generally" and not about Pilon specifically.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada "isn't able to provide you with any information on this individual," including whether he is a Canadian citizen, spokesperson Stephane Malepart said. He cited Canadian privacy law.

Pilon was arrested Jan. 29, after the dog was reported missing by one of his neighbours in Hana, Hawaii. The neighbour had obtained a three-year restraining order against Pilon in May 2006.

"They should keep him in Hawaii. We don't need him here," Pierre Barnoti of the Canadian SPCA (Montreal) said.

Pilon "isn't known to us," he added.

Penalties in the U.S. for animal-cruelty offences are generally stronger than in Canada, Barnoti said: "The laws punishing cruelty to animals here haven't changed in 107 years." The maximum penalty under Canada's Criminal Code is a $2,000 fine and six months imprisonment, Barnoti said, but "I don't recall in 13 years anybody being put in jail in Canada for animal cruelty." "People who are cruel to animals are often disturbed people - and dangerous to humans, too," he added, declaring that Pilon would not be permitted to adopt a pet from the SPCA.

The Hawaiian judge called Pilon's exile "a proposal that works for everybody," according to reporter Lila Fujimoto of the Maui News.

"Hopefully, we won't have any more problems," Ige said in court. "That's what the court wants - some peace in that community." Michael O'Sullivan, executive director of the Humane Society of Canada, said Montreal police "should meet this man at the airport and plaster the neighbourhood where he chooses to live with his picture" and a description of the offence.

No way, Montreal police Constable Robert Mansueto said.

"The laws here don't permit us to do something like that at all."

© Copyright 2007 The Gazette (Montreal)



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